How a Low Pressure Accumulating System Can Prevent Downtime and Product Damage

Chicken. It’s what’s for dinner.

Most people view chicken as being the utmost versatile protein and it’s no wonder it can be fit into almost any family menu. It can be baked, roasted, grilled or fried. It can be served on top of a salad, in a soup, as a sandwich or an appetizer. Over 8 billion chickens are consumed per year in the US, which makes chicken the number one species consumed by Americans each day. Shuttleworth’s client, a poultry products manufacturer, processes more than 400,000 chickens daily and distributes them to grocers around the United States. A smooth and reliable system is essential in the processing and packaging operations so that the end product can be safely and circulated to consumers in a timely manner.

One problem the client had been encountering was that the product transition from the cutting room belt conveyor to the wrapping area would often result in product back-up and jamming. When this happened, spillage and damage occurred, resulting in product waste and excessive system downtime. Product marring often happened on the Styrofoam tray bottom during this transition, which was used to carry the raw, cut-up chicken parts. The marring was caused by the interaction of the cleaning solution and the conveyor top. A smooth transition was needed in the infeed to the packaging area to completely prevent product damage and to avoid any system stoppages. Once the product was safely transported into the wrapping area, accumulation was also required to enable manual loading of the product from the conveyor into the shrink wrapping area.

After experiencing effective results from a small section of Slip-Torque® conveyor positioned elsewhere in their operation, the company gave Shuttleworth the opportunity to provide a solution to these production problems. Forty sections of Slip-Torque conveyor were added to the operation which eliminated jams and spills at the infeed areas. The Slip-Torque conveyor is designed to buffer products with minimal line pressure, which greatly reduces product damage. It also ensures that the trays of poultry remain safe and intact throughout the processing and packaging operation.

The system comprised of three infeed sections featuring an inclined “bridge” and a skewed conveyor surface that kept the product close to the outer guide rail to facilitate easier manual unloading of the product. Special interfaces eliminated any potential jams and spills in these areas. As the product accumulates, the conveyor rollers ensure product line separation that prevents any congestion and product slippage. A special corner bumper assembly also helped maintain product orientation on its way to packaging.

This Shuttleworth accumulation system allows production to continue on course, even when shrink wrap or packing operations fail. Simultaneously, this application offered up to 400 trays per minute that allows the customer to keep up with the high demand for required products to be processed. Highly polished stainless steel shafts and specially dyed rollers manufactured by Shuttleworth keep unmarred packages up to USDA standards while enabling equipment to take the punishment of a heavy wash-down and clean environment.

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